Why An Bord Pleanála rejected the planning inspector's recommendation to refuse the Ringaskiddy incinerator

Why An Bord Pleanála rejected the planning inspector's recommendation to refuse the Ringaskiddy incinerator
The An Bord Pleanála oral hearing into the Indaver Ireland application for an incinerator at Ringaskiddy took place in 2016 in Carrgialine.  Picture: Denis Minihane.

An Bord Pleanála did not accept a number of refusal recommendations by its own inspector Derek Daly when granting planning permission for a controversial €160m waste incinerator in Ringaskiddy.

A 10-year planning permission and a 30-year operational life from the completion of construction of the facility has been granted at the 13.5-hectare site.

An Bord Pleanála did not agree or share the views of Mr Daly in his grounds for refusal on five main points.

A protest underway in 2016 at the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing into the Ringaskiddy incinerator. Picture: Denis Minihane.
A protest underway in 2016 at the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing into the Ringaskiddy incinerator. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The inspector had stated there was an incompatibility with emerging educational developments at the National Maritime College of Ireland and heritage development in the lower harbour.

Overdevelopment of the site where the incinerator is proposed was also highlighted by the inspector but it was considered by the Board that there was no information to suggest the site's use would be impaired by its size.

Mr Daly also expressed concerns about an environmental impact assessment regarding the impacts of the incinerator on health and air quality and issues regarding the safety of helicopters entering Haulbowline Naval Base.

The inspector's initial report had identified concerns relating to certain information regarding the dioxin intake of local residents from the site and air navigation safety for helicopters entering the naval base.

However, Mr Daly's addendum report expressed satisfaction that the facility would not present an “unacceptable risk” to aircraft or impair the operation of the naval base.

He also was satisfied that there would be no “significant risk” posed to human health by the development.

Modelling exercises to predict the theoretical maximum level of dioxin intake for residents were used to determine this.

In addition, the Board did not agree with the inspector that the environmental impact assessment statement analysis “lacked robustness” and also found the development would not be detrimental to local transport routes, flooding, coastal erosion or local amenities.

A protest underway prior to the start of the An Bord Pleanala oral hearing into the Indaver Ireland application for an incinerator at Ringaskiddy in 2016. Picture: Denis Minihane.
A protest underway prior to the start of the An Bord Pleanala oral hearing into the Indaver Ireland application for an incinerator at Ringaskiddy in 2016. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The planning authority's document said there is considered to be no impact on human beings such as dropping property values, population falls and reduced economic or community investment.

After each of inspectors points was considered, it was deemed by the planning authority that the development was in-line European, national, and regional waste management policy and consistent with the Cork County Development Plan and zoning under the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Local Area Plan 2017.

A number of conditions are built into the planning permission. No more than 240,000 tonnes of municipal waste will be allowed per annum, while only 24,000 tonnes or hazardous waste will be allowed in a 12-month period.

In its decision rationale, the Board said the incinerator facility would be “strategically located in the national context to serve Cork and the South West Region and would provide an infrastructural asset to the region as it grows in accordance with the policies of the National Planning Framework Project Ireland 2020”.

Furthermore, it said it would be “compatible with the pattern of existing development in this area of Cork Harbour, which includes the nearby Port of Cork container terminal facility”.

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